Meghalaya: MLA Ardent Basiawmoit raises concern towards people living in border areas
MLA Ardent Basiawmoit and CM Conrad Sangma (left to right)

Shillong: Nongkrem MLA Ardent Basiawmoit on Tuesday expressed concern over the constant fear experienced by people living in the border areas of Assam-Meghalaya and asked what measures the government has taken to guarantee the safety and security of individuals residing in both national and international border areas.

In response, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma stated that the government is taking steps to boost the confidence of people living in sensitive border areas by increasing manpower, infrastructure, and security. He emphasized the importance of maintaining communication and coordination with their counterparts in Assam.

Sangma further informed the House that the government has established seven new border outposts along the inter-state border. Additionally, they have created new police stations and outposts in close proximity to the Assam inter-state border, in addition to the existing ones.

Sangma also highlighted that the Deputy Commissioners of bordering districts with areas of dispute maintain regular contact with their counterparts in Assam.

The Superintendent of Police has also been provided with a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to ensure the maintenance of peace and tranquillity in areas of dispute along the interstate border.

Furthermore, regional committees led by Cabinet ministers have been established to address the remaining six areas of disagreement.

Regarding the international border, Sangma provided information that there are 14 police stations with jurisdictional boundaries along the border. The districts bordering Bangladesh also have outposts and infiltration check posts. The police personnel conduct regular foot, mobile, and long-range patrols along the border.

Basiawmoit assumed that the constant fear experienced by people living in border areas may be due to the state government’s soft approach, which may have emboldened their counterparts to claim Mukroh as part of Assam.

While acknowledging that Basiawmoit’s concerns are genuine, Sangma stated that a much larger debate is required to address the issues raised by the member.

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Sangma explained that the tension among people living in sensitive areas arises from incidents that have occurred, as well as the lack of a resolution to the issue. He further added that tensions can escalate from both sides due to these incidents. “As a government, we are committed to resolving the border issue once and for all,” he said.

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